Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Witness protection

I'm getting a little manic, which often means some very odd thoughts. 

I was thinking today, we would do terribly in witness protection.  Can you imagine our marshall?  "No Bible Handouts.  No evangelism.  No testimony.  Don't talk about Houston."   How do you hide Ron?  How many half-paralyzed, totally blind Creoles in the nation?

All we know is vending, really, but I doubt they'd let us do that.  They'd probably stick us in some frozen hell-hole up north (remember, anything under 70 is "freezing" to us). 

I doubt we'd last long. 

Not much!

Sorry, pet peeve of mine, people who assume we "make a lot of money". No.  At our best we were still low income; these days "extremely low income/poverty".   My pay's down to $400 a month. 

That said, happily we are "house poor", sneaking in during the subprime rush, but our mortgage company has made plenty of money on our regular payments.  We throw in $20 a month towards principal, not as much as we'd like but better than nothing. 

As you know, last year we kept riding with an annoying woman who had known a VERY gossipy cab driver who used to give us rides back in 2002.  He assumed we made a lot of money, we didn't.  We were good tippers, though, so maybe it fed from that.  At any rate he gossiped about us to this woman who was just 1000% convinced we were wealthy, and "fronting" poor. 

Do you know how frustrating it is to try to convince someone you could get food stamps?   Especially when I live in a "nice" neighborhood with lots of 2 story brick homes.  They don't realize, as my aunt said "Heather lives in a little bungalow, surrounded by all these mansions!" 

They don't realize I saved $30,000 off the purchase price by settling for one bathroom.  The house needed work, you get the idea. 

All she had was gossip and our home in a nice neighborhood (that was just a gift from God), so she assumed old Robert was right.  And she made sure to tell EVERYONE, other passengers, drivers, etc.  "Oh, they're rich." 

I suspected she talked to the wrong person, who robbed us, and she certainly acted VERY guilty when I told her.  I made a point to tell her, the thief only got one thing because I don't have stuff.  I have a computer.  I have a low-def TV, 20 inches.  That's it for electronics (unless you count the $20 MP3 player in my backpack).  I don't have jewelry, I have a couple titanium wedding rings (titanium can't be sized, so I had to buy different rings as I gained or lost weight).  That's it. 

I have plenty of precious treasure: the Bibles I hand out.  My own personal "religious" library.  Afghans I made.  The cats, of course.  Ron's wheelchair.  Some parts in the garage.  But they have no value to anyone else. 

That's the way I like it. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

How much money do you think I make?

Good question.  Feel free to leave a reply. 

I'll give you some hints: self-employed, work part time.  One disability check in play for the both of us. 


Migraine today. I woke up around 3 to a drilling pain in my right temple, spreading down across my face and around the back of my head. 

I took some Excedrin, and opted not to shower just yet.  We had a trip to Walmart.  I did want to go. 

The Excedrin seemed to be helping, but when we got to Walmart I realized I'd made a bad choice.  I did manage to get some of the stuff I wanted. 

I really needed some laundry detergent.  I wanted something to brighten my clothes.  I found some throw in packs for that, about 60 cents each.  If I like them I might buy a bigger unit.  I also got some bleach tablets, I soaked my clothes in some water with a bleach tablet, then added detergent and ran a load.  The socks and all turned out fine, but the bras were pretty gross.  I also got some more of the Arm & Hammer packs.  Ron likes the fragrance and they do a good job. 

I got a long sleeved long underwear top to match my lovely fuzzy leggings (I wear them under jeans on really cold days). 

Ron sold some quarters to the bank.  My hands kept shaking from the Excedrin/lithium interaction. 

When I checked out, I was overcharged 84 cents but that was my "bad" because I didn't double check.  At any rate, I used up my gift card and didn't blow my budget. 

We came home, my head was worse, I told Ron I couldn't work.  I would have tried, but... I never "call in sick" unless I am contagious or incapacitated.  If I had been exposed to strong fragances, I'd have thrown up. 

I took a phenergan and laid down for a while.  Now I'm just waiting for dinner to cook so I can eat and take my pills. 

I take my medication very seriously. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Year in Review, 2013

I've decided to to the "Year in Review". 

Here are the other ones:
2008  http://houstonheather.blogspot.com/2008/12/year-in-review-heather-style.html
2009  http://houstonheather.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-year.html
2010  http://houstonheather.blogspot.com/2010/12/year-in-review.html  (what a horrible, depressing year)
2011  [not available, I was depressed]
2012  http://houstonheather.blogspot.com/2012/12/2012-year-in-review.html

First, I need to eat and take my pills.  I'm a lot more fragile than I'd like to admit.  OK, done that. 

Birthday party next door!  That should be interesting later on. 

Let's get to it:
January: I started out depressed but went to manic pretty quick.  Ron was still drinking to blackout stage on a regular basis and aggravating his neuropathy.  I passed some very large clots "the size of my thumb" during my cycle.  I have had this happen a few times in the last 20 years, and I always wonder if I had a miscarriage.  Battles with the other vendor over candy bar prices (they still refuse to go up).  The state took away a food machine, but we were given permission to run a "chop shop" and strip if of all usable parts.  We are still using those parts to keep the other machine going.  Third parties gave me a very hard time because I refused to buy Ron alcohol. 

February: I got sick with a viral sinus infection.  Bible Handouts when I felt better. 

March:  I started regulating my TV and reading.  Not much energy in a day, I have to spend it wisely.  My account got hacked, again.  I got manic.  I discovered Friskies Hairball treats, which my cats still love. 

April: Busy.  Bubba died suddenly of heart failure (we eased his passing).  I prayed about it, and went down to the shelter, where I was chosen by Kitty Pretty, a chubby torbie (tortie tabby).  "No one wants the older cats" I was told when I selected her.  She was 3 days from death.  We brought her home and love her to pieces.  She's a good fit and she even looks related to our other cat.  When we put Bubba down, I gave the vet, and the cab driver, Bibles.  My lithium level came back ideal at .6.  I just have to live with the brain fog and fatigue. 

May: We lost the wheelchair.  It broke while I was pushing Ron in it one day, but it did not collapse.  I added Depakote to my medication cocktail.  It works great, but adds more fatigue.  Ron developed disgusting blisters all over his legs, which got infected.  One doctor accused me of burning him.  It took months for the blisters to heal.  I was finally able to track them to Ron's overuse of a back massager, on his legs.  Bible Handouts

June:  Bible Handouts, Ron was unwillingly used by a woman and her daughter, begging for money.  I found the little girl standing next to Ron in the wheelchair as if he were her father.  I was furious.  So angry, in fact, the mother snatched the child and went into their (nice) car until we left.  The guy next door had a wild all-night party.  We started Baby Girl kitten on adult food (Blue Wilderness Duck). 

July:  Ron and I weren't doing so well.  I went low carb. 

August:  We had a complaint about poorly stocked machines.  Ron finally starts giving snacks priority in the budget.  Doc's intern calls in my prescription, including sleeping pills and antianxiety pills.  If I'd known what was coming, I probably would have taken them! 

September:  I'm told we will no longer have our vending area.  Lots of scrambling, but they finally find an area for us to put some of our vending machines.  We lose our stockroom as well, and I have to clean it out.  Some of it comes home, some goes to storage in Austin. 

October:  Getting used to our new vending location.  Ongoing power issues force us to give up a food machine.  A couple of Bible Handouts. 

November:  We ask the other vendor, nicely, to please keep our shared area clean.  They do not and react very badly, starting a "war". 

December:  Battling depression, Bible Handouts. 

I lost Bubba, but I got Torbie.  Ron developed the blisters, and will carry those scars forever, but it got him thinking about his alcohol intake.  We almost lost the business, but didn't. 

What a year! 

Tremendous day

Ron and I like a little meal out now and then.  But, as he so elegantly says, "I don't want our money going down the toilet." 

Usually, we eat at home.  Sometimes, we go out to our favorite taqueria.  Ron suggested it the other day.  Now, the average meal out is about $20, but if we go to breakfast we can both eat for about $10.  I try to be thrifty, I suggested breakfast today. 

Ron had gone to the Christmas eve service.  He'll go next Sunday.  I'm happy with what I get, because it is a pretty long round trip. 

I have a church, a good one.  That's what matters. 

So, we went.  Our ride was late and it was her.  She's just a horrible, mean, woman.  Control freak and very dominating.  Thank God it was a short trip.  She is scary.  We last had her 2 months ago so that isn't bad.  My "boyfriend", an 80 year old former rodeo rider, was aboard, so I chatted about his horses. 

We went in to the taqueria, it was pretty packed.  We had a whole spectrum from the (expected) Latino families, Black families just out of church, father and son White bodybuilders, all in a festive atmosphere of delicious food. 

Our usual seats were taken, so Ron and I sat at a middle table, surrounded.  We got our favorite waitress.  I ordered a large diet coke and a large cheese quesadilla, and Ron got the chilaquiles.  Ron's had chicken and green sauce, he gets the "Nortenos" style. 

I even ordered in Spanish, beans and potatoes for here, the rest to go.  I was very pleased with myself. 

Our waitress hurried off, and brought back the food as Ron and I murdered tortilla chips in red sauce.  We ate our food, delicious as always, and I went to pay. 

The owner told me "Someone's already paid for your meal".  I thought that was lovely.  I've heard of people doing that but I've never been on the end of it.  I thanked him and told Ron. 

We made sure the waitress got her tip, and ordered a taco to go (we gave it to our return trip driver).  The return driver was a really nice younger lady, very sweet and delighted to get a taco. 

Then I went inside and got a nap with Torbie!  That was awesome.  She's always up for a nap (she takes the foot of the bed).   

Apparently they're having a party next door (probably a birthday for one of the 5 kids), but it's quiet.  I'm glad I did get my nap so I can stay up a little later if needed.  They just don't seem to get that "wall" in their yard is my bedroom. 

Not borrowing trouble; we don't have a tremendous day tomorrow anyway. 

God told me to do it

So, some updates.

My stalker issue is ongoing.  God convicted me on my relationship with a family member - she has a lot of issues and she needs to work on them. 

For instance, she's in a cult.  The Bible is really clear on false teachers and those who promote them:  don't tolerate them.  The cult also has some abusive recruitment. 

There are other issues I will not detail; but she has made some really bad decisions.  I can't just sit back and give my tacit approval.  I can't. 

So, I sent a letter (restating here for some), asking for no contact for 6 months.  God wanted me to cut off contact, but I didn't get a feel for how long.  6 months seemed long enough. 

I asked her to leave me alone for that period of time; deciding I would cut off all contact if she did not respect my wishes.  Someone made a good point "She may try to call just because this is a huge surprise, Heather."  Yeah, I got that.  She called a few times, went to voicemail.  Ron set up a custom greeting "Heather loves you but you need to leave her alone".   That didn't last long.  After a few calls, I made him change it to "[name] leave Heather alone!" 

However, weeks of unwanted phone calls later - calls where it went to a direct personal greeting asking her to leave me alone - and still bothering me... many unwanted text messages - blocking her cell phone entirely; her using other phones to contact me... I'm done. 

However, she isn't.  She called my adoptive Mom last night "Why?  I don't understand?  Is something wrong with Heather?" 

She was told "Heather sent you a letter.  She does not want any contact with you and you need to respect that."  "But I didn't get the letter..."  [rolleyes]  I know she did. 

So, that's what's going on in that regard.  Happily I have plenty of resources so I'm not worried this will escalate.  She just needs to get the point, get out of the victim mentality, and get on with her life. 

We were never close.  I am closer to people I've never met in person. 

From what I can tell, she's all about the "Why?" wanting to know what happened.  God told me to do it, that's why.  I am pissed you disrespected my one request and pissed all over my boundaries.  I don't want anyone like that in my life. 

From what I have read, this type of stalker is fed by reaction: I'm probably supposed to call her, irate that she contacted my parents.   I won't.  I'll continue to ignore her, delete, reject calls, and send things back (although I think she got the point on that). 

I am peeved enough I need to put this in the blog.  Even at risk she might read it. 


I will, of course, pray for her daily.  The Bible commands that. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

If we let Him

Oh, I'm tired. 

I got up early, hit the snooze and did my God Time later.  The bed was so warm, I had Torbie...

I did have to get up and shower, though.  My hair resembled a greasy nest. 

I got showered, deodorized, brushed, and groomed.  I watched a little weather and elected to wear my long underwear.  Hey, it gets cold waiting on Metrolift. 

Especially since they bulldozed our "bus stop".  Still irked about that. 

We went to the warehouse and bought drinks.  We took them to work and put them in the fridge, checked on the machines.  The bottle vendor appears to be working. 

I noted a few things I needed (but forgot the oatmeal cream pies!), and went back outside.  Back to the warehouse, more drinks, in the fridge. 

I loaded the cart with cold drinks and some snack items (turns out I needed 2 things I was sure I didn't), and went to our area (about a half mile walk).  I pushed it, got Ron his drinks, got my snacks. 

Every pastry item has to be tagged with a label gun - expiration date.  So I did that, got them loaded.  Then I moved onto chips.  My people have an endless appetite for hot, crunchy, things.  I made sure they had them. 

Ron, in the meantime, did the drinks.  Back before the remodel, he would focus on the food machine and drinks, I would focus on snacks, deliveries, and housekeeping.  We still do that. 

The bottle vendor looked great when we left, I was very happy.  If it's working on Monday I'll call it "fixed". 

Ron and I had some good discussion on what items to stock in the "beast".  I can honestly say I really enjoy working with Ron.  He values me, appreciates me, and wants my input.  He does pull rank now and then, but that's fine. 

So, all done.  We went back to our area, then our ride. 

We got home around 4 - and I got up around 5.  That's a long day! 

Too late for a nap.  I saw the neighbors leaving (soccer ball into the house).  I was tired enough I might just make a comment, so I ignored them.  Better to be thought rude than to prove it.  Overall they are wonderful. 

We had great drivers.  Ron handed out a lot of tracts.  I thought, as I watched him today, he's come a long way.  I just had to let God do the work on him. 

God can do amazing things in our lives, if we let Him. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

"Let me put some pants on!"

"This is going on the blog" I warned Ron.  "You look like a flagellant, carrying that thing around your neck."  (The medieval flagellants used to carry heavy crosses on their back from town to town).  I plucked the folding chair from around his neck and put it on my cart. 

Ron protested, he could carry it.  "Yes, you can.  But what's the rule?" 

We recited together "Everything that goes wrong (with Ron) is (Heather's) fault!"  The other day, Ron had an unfortunate loss of balance outside the building while my back was turned and I got some evil looks.  I *should* have helped him, they said. 

Forget that Ron demanded to walk over there on his own; I didn't help him, he "fell", so it's my fault.  Once the crowd dispersed, I told him "Thank God you're not bleeding!"  [groan]  I'd never hear the end of it. 

It was an interesting day.  I didn't set my alarm, overslept.  I woke up when Ron did and our ride was early to boot.  The female driver was banging on the door. 

"I'm naked" I told her.  "You don't want me riding like this, let me put some pants on."   She consented, looking rather alarmed, and I got dressed. 

We went to Walmart.  I forgot my list so I just got a couple of 2 liter sodas, cottage cheese, and toilet paper.  We went home and put the stuff away, then...

We went to the warehouse and bought some bottled drinks for work.  The bottled vendor is apparently fixed, so we need to stock it.  If it's stocked, we'll make money.  Kind of a no brainer. 

First, I had to get the cases out of the club into the vehicle, onto the curb, on the cart and in the building, into the fridge to chill. 

Ron likes to rip the plastic wrap over the bottled drinks; a job I hated.  "What can I do?" he lamented as I loaded the drinks.  "Rip the plastic" I replied.  He was thrilled. 

It really is a job I hate, and he had so much fun "fixing them just right".  We had a little more time than we'd planned, so we went over to our area to check on the kids (machines).  The bottled vendor seems OK, but it hasn't made any sales (unstocked right now).  The true test comes over the weekend.  If it makes it Monday I'll believe it's "fixed". 

That machine has been such a trial to us. 

The snack machines looked good, customers are still buying but the coils look pretty good.  They don't need any emergency stock (except maybe some honey buns and oatmeal cream pies). 

Canned sodas (the best food cost percentage, thus our best money makers) were moving along nicely and need some more inventory (which we'll get tomorrow).   No problems.  The cold food machine looked good, too.  Ron dealt with that while I changed prices on the bottled vendor. 

I got that done, yay.  I just hope this repair sticks. 

We had a little challenge coming home. The driver didn't read the instructions and went in the wrong parking lot, then drove around aimlessly "looking for the client".  He finally got it, though. 

That's a little issue for me.  If they can't follow simple instructions do I really want to put my safety in their hands?  They could kill me (I don't care about that), or cripple me further (that, I'd mind).  Worse, they could hurt or kill Ron. 

I'm a little ambivalent sometimes, riding.  Then I remind myself God can certainly imbue the driver with what's needed until they drop us off, and I feel a LOT better. 

When we got home, I took a long nap.  I got up, did my God time, now a little 'net time before I go back to bed. 

We work tomorrow.  Small business owners don't get to "work for the weekend!" 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Fix

ODD start to the day. 

I don't even know how to explain it.  Apparently my stalker got one of her friends to put me on the CC list for text messages?  I got a copy of something, which I deleted of course. 

Ron found it hysterical that he was also on the text message list.  He was making jokes about naked picture messages.  God, I love that man.

Wierdness aside, and yet another number added to the block list, we move on to the rest of my day:  I woke up depressed, got the shower but not the God Time.  I got that before I got online. 

We went to the warehouse club and bought drinks, took them to work, Ron stocked the drinks.  I went with the "Flavor Mix" assortment of chips and stocked them.  I need some more of the larger chips, cream pies, etc.  I was glad I had brought a variety mix pastry, because I did need them. 

I want to be cautious buying inventory because sales generally crash across the building in January.  Things are different this year with the remodel, I don't want to lose sales, but I don't want to put a lot of money in non-selling inventory, either. 

It's a dance, and most days I enjoy it. 

We finally met the only repairman willing to work on the V-40 bottled vendor.  He's the first one to listen to me and replace the coin mech.  Two people I respect suggested I do that.  I got so excited when I saw the new mech I picked it up and hugged it.  I pray that's "the fix". 

The machine certainly took a lot of coins after the new mech install.  Well, I think it's reconditioned, but you get the idea.  [sigh]  So much drama around that machine.  That's common, apparently. 

We got the repairman out of there and went home.  The neighbors were gone so I laid down for a nap.  I was pretty beat.  They came home and put some of the kids in the backyard.  Oh no, I thought. 

However, it was the toddlers.  They are cute, making cute little toddler noises, NOT wrecking my house, so I was fine.  I had a pretty good nap with Torbie on my heated mattress pad. 

That thing is awesome.  I can't believe I haven't used it in years.  I lay down on the heated bed and I am out. 

For a crazy person it's a big deal. 

I also got to give away a Bible today, and Ron gave the "don't take the mark" speech to a couple of people.  A lot of them laugh outright at him - but he is strong.  He knows it is more important to share the truth. 

I so admire and love him for that.  God really did a good job putting us together.  Ron has the gift of evangelism and prophecy, I have evangelism and nurturing.   I think it's a good match. 

Prophets, so to speak, can get very discouraged because many people laugh at them, scoff, or dismiss them.  They need some nurturing. 

I'll never forget when Ron suggested, out of the blue "You need to go to Acres Homes".  I thought it was nuts, but it was in line with scripture.  As a result we have handed out over a thousand Bibles in one of the worst ghettoes in Houston. 

I hope I always go, when I'm sent. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I'm not well

My illness generally has me running depressed on Christmas.  I'm used to that. 

Last night the neighbor kids, and adults, played soccer literally all night, against the side of my house, which is the property line.  I kept wondering if they were damaging my siding, if so how much, and how I'd get it repaired if they did. 

I decided, laying in bed, I would NOT allow the homeowner to repair it himself; but insist he pay someone else to do it.  1.  I don't know if he does good construction (this is a man who once wrapped his back porch in opaque plastic sheeting all winter).  and 2.  I think a hit in the wallet makes a better point. 

I decided I should inspect for damage. 

Clearly, I couldn't do it during the party.

I saw the whole family load up and leave, and I gave some serious consideration to doing my inspection (which is my right).  But I had a thought. 

"I'm not well right now."  I thought. 

I already feel miserable.  What if I do go out and find damage?  I'll just feel worse.  I'll get angry and I'll want to confront him when they come home, probably from church, and I will assuredly come out of that looking like the "bad guy". 

So, I'll wait.  I'll check it tomorrow, maybe, or later on.  God made the universe.  He can help my siding if He wants. 

If they are damaging my siding, forcing the homeowner to pay for repairs ought to make a point I can't make by talking: find another way for your kids to play.  Go play on one of the other property lines but get the heck off my house! 

I don't want to start a war, either.  I've heard some real horror stories. 

I wanted this on top

Yes, you need footage of two brown tabby girls checking out an automatic water bowl. 

Baby Girl (I call her "Varms", short for "Varmint", in the video), was already drinking water out of it even before I turned it on. 

Torbie drank a huge amount, went and peed a lake in the little box, and is walking around looking very happy.  I think Baby Girl didn't want to perform on camera. 

If you watch, you'll see Torbie doesn't mind, as long as I pay her with plenty of treats. 

Optimal mood control

Well, they didn't have a huge party with karaoke, they had a small party with drinking and lots of soccer, against the side of my house. 

I was lying in bed thinking to the father: "You're a father.  You want to raise your son to be, what?  I assume you want a responsible, respectful, considerate citizen.  However, you are teaching him to be...otherwise."  The oldest is 13.  [shrug] 

I'll move on from there.  However, I got about 4 hours sleep.  I'm not at "optimal mood control" today. 

It got better.  My sister (who I am henceforth renaming my biological stalker) borrowed someone's cell phone to send me a passive aggressive message.  I asked her to leave me alone.  She has not done so.  She has a lot more problems than I guessed. 

I'm glad I cut off contact.  I don't need that in my life.  I have too much crazy as it is - which would have made an excellent blog title. 

Feeling a little bug eyed from sleep deprivation, it got even better after I woke up.  For some inexplicable reason, Ron decided to lecture me about my weight.  On Christmas morning.  I didn't talk about any sort of trigger.  He just decided to launch into it. 

I finally told him, look, I've had issues with you, too.  Nagging, lecturing, yelling, none of that works.  The only thing that works is turning it over to God. 

I'm saved, right?  So, if God wants me to work on this He will convict me through the Holy Spirit.  And I'll listen.  But if you keep yelling at me I'll shut down altogether.  I don't want to fight. 

Like I said, I don't have optimal mood control.  I just left and did my God time. 

I felt a lot better after that, about then Ron decided his presentation was bad, but we still have to talk about it.  He wrote me a little note and even suggested an ideal weight for me. 

Times like that, I remind myself, "My husband has a head injury" (another good blog title).   He wanted to "start the day over" he said so I took that at face value. 

However, when I finish blogging this morning I'm making my Christmas breakfast, cinnamon waffles.  I don't think I'll offer him any! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I don't drive

I wish I could find one of my old resumes.  Employers loved them. 

That is, of course, until they found out I don't drive.  That was it. 

Accounting, office work, you name it.  Even some light technical support.  I can do it, and do it well.  They always loved the line "Built my own computer".   

In my current job, I do accounting, office manager, filing, cash accountability, tax filings, repairs, inventory, stocking, merchandising, planogram, etc.  Not bad for a brain-damaged, "crazy" person. 

But I don't drive; if I wanted another job in vending I wouldn't get it. 

Today I was riding in Metrolift, as my husband's assistant, going through Northwest Houston, through areas not serviced by the bus line.  I saw business after business, places where I can never work. 

Why?  They're not on the bus line.  It's pretty depressing, actually.  I see all these signs for places hiring, places I can't go on my own.  Sucks to be me. 

I think that's the hardest thing for me to explain to employers: I'm disabled, but not too much, certainly able to do the job, but I can only work for you if you're on a bus line.  But you probably don't even know if you are, because you're a car person and never gave it any thought, did you. 

They just hear "disabled, not able to drive" and decide I'm not worth it. 

Even when I'm not looking for a job, it's depressing to consider. 

I have no doubt, if something happened to Ron before the rapture, and I was left on my own, God would enable me to find the "right" job, one with understanding employers, and accessible on a bus.  I pray that day never comes, but God's will, not mine. 

Speaking of, Ron just blew up at me.  He thinks #6, next door, is setting off firecrackers and "going to burn the house down".  I told him the firecrackers are being set off at the cross street, one house over on the other side.  No, he insisted, the kids at #6 were screaming everytime the firecrackers were set off, so they must be the ones doing it.  No, I tried to tell him, the #6 kids are on the trampoline, elevated, and they can see the firecrackers (more of the mortar shell type things), then they scream; but #6 is not setting off firecrackers.  He won't hear it and is convinced they are.  When I tried to explain he shouted at me in a very ugly fashion.  I was happy to leave him alone. 

It appears #6 is getting ready to do another one of his all-night parties.  He has lighting set up in the backyard (that should be a lot of fun in the low 40's), and making a lot of noise banging things against the side of my house.  I guess sleep tonight is out of the question. 

However, it is fairly quiet right now, which begs the question: do I try to get some sleep now, only to be awakened, or do I just stay up until it's all over?  I'm still debating. 

Ugh.  Sometimes I hate this cultural crap.  In the Mexican culture, Christmas eve, New Year's (I kind of expect that for any culture, though), and January 6 - all night party nights regardless of the neighbors.  He told one of my guests he is saved - I am dying to go over there sometimes and ask  "Would Jesus want you to keep the neighbors up all night?" 

I'm sure He wouldn't. 

What is it with Christmas eve?

Last year we had Christmas eve dinner with a friend.  When we got there, we realized he was sick.  Too late to leave... we both got sick. 

This morning, our first driver kept hacking into his hands, and complaining about how sick he'd been last night, up with chills and fever, etc... "I feel terrible but I need the money!" 

Thanks a lot!   Not to worry, he reassured us, he'd be taking 10 days off after this.  Thanks. 

I am praying I don't catch it.  According to the CDC, I'll know in 1 to 4 days.  On the plus side, we did make it through the Christmas season. 

We had 2 repairmen scheduled.  The bottled vendor repairman, for the dreaded V-40 - hated by ALL repairmen, never showed.  Thanks. 

That's 4 hours, and a possible flu exposure, I won't be getting back. 

If I were evil, and I did get sick, I'd go in and shake his hand when he does come.  But I won't. 

The other guy, our standard, did show.  He fixed the food machine and the snack machine coin jam.  I'd gotten some of the coins out, but not all, and it was ripping people off.  NOT cool.  I can't abide it if a machine is extorting customers; I'll turn it off if I can't fix it myself. 

Which I actually did, for a while, today. 

At any rate we stocked what we could and the machines look pretty good.  We got 2 machines fixed. 

Ron's having a hard time with the remodel.  Not the fact that they moved us, or even that we're working with half our machines. 

He hates losing his independence.  It is impossible for him to work by himself anymore, too many safety concerns.  Today, for example, I came around a corner and nearly ran into a ladder a guy'd hoisted on his shoulder.  Ron would have caused an accident.  That's not even factoring the forklifts, the towmotors, the cherrypickers, etc. 

I have to walk him around, and he hates that.  He blames me, saying I'm "overprotective".  I have asked God to work with him on this, to realize it really is a safety issue and we could lose the business if he defies the rules. 

In the meantime, I keep an eye on him. 

Life is certainly interesting. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

A couple of hot dogs

We worked on Sunday, boy did we work. 

First, we went to Walmart and got some food.  Came home, put it up.  I didn't get much, mainly some greek yogurt with honey and some waffles for Christmas.  I thought that might be a nice breakfast. 

Ron got some snack foods, a couple of TV dinners, and probably cat treats.  After putting it away we went to the warehouse, bought a lot of soda, and then took it to work. 

I have to put it in the vehicle, then take it out and put it on the curb when we arrive.  After that, I get the cart, leaving Ron with the merchandise.  The cart has 2 bad wheels and our guy is "looking in the warehouse".  Then I loaded the sodas and chips onto the cart, and then took it in. 

Sometimes, if the cart isn't full, I "let" Ron ride on the top shelf.  It's a 3-shelf, steel "bus cart", about 3 and a half feet high.  He hops up there and the customers love to see him ride. 

"Can I get a ride?"
"Only if you marry me, first."  That takes them aback and they start laughing.  I like to interact with my customers. 

Ron had to "hobble" because the cart was loaded, though.  I got us all to our area (a very long hobble) and set Ron up with "his" cart while I dragged "my" merchandise over to the snack machines.  Just like before, we work different sides of the room.  They put the sodas off to one side, the snack machines to the other. 

We got it all stocked.  I need oatmeal cream pies, but otherwise OK.

After all stocking we headed out to meet our ride, happily already there.  It's "cold" for Houston and I hate waiting in the cold, especially since they took away our "bus stop". 

We went home, ate.  Ron went to sleep. 

I decided to put my heated mattress pad onto my bed.  I had to make it anyway (I do it up in layers, so I can just take the sheet off if a cat gets sick).  I put on the pad, then a light fleece blanket (the heating cables are kind of ropey), and the top sheet.  I got it all working and turned it on. 

Torbie loves it.  Unfortunately, she had discovered it's hotter at the foot and has taken that area entirely.  It makes it a little hard to roll over! 

I had a good long sleep.  Woke up, still somewhat depressed, and got my shower.  I got distracted by Ron, and playing with Baby Girl, so I didn't get my God Time.

We went to Starbucks and I walked over to the pet store.  They need their treatment (flea drops that go on the back of the neck).  I was also curious to buy some toys, too. 

I found Baby Girl's favorite, a rickrack ribbon teaser wand, for $3.  She adores the old one. 

I also got some treats for 87 cents, and a can of duck cat food.  This brand (Blue) actually had the duck as the primary ingredient, not some kind of "animal liver".  Good.  Mission accompllished, I went back to Ron.

He was happy with his latte.  I had a hot chocolate.  Our ride was pretty timely to go home. 

I ate, took my pills, and took a long nap.  Traditionally, in the Mexican culture, one can expect a loud, all-night party the night before Christmas.  Wikipedia  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  It depends. 

Generally, every time I have planned a Christmas eve Bible Handout, they've had an all-nighter.  Thank God for caffeine.  I've always gone anyway. 

So, I want to get as much rest as possible in case they do have the loud party.  The weather will be cold and miserable for Houston, so, one hopes, they will stay indoors at least. 

We have good things to eat on Christmas, which was my family tradition. 

Still kind of depressed, but that's just "the brain" as Ron says.  I think I'll do some organizing and eat a couple of hot dogs. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Date night

Last night some neighbors had a party.  They have had some ongoing, very loud parties for a while.  Ron managed that one nicely by calling the police and the homeowner's association.  The HOA sent a letter to the tenant, and the landlord. 

This party it was obvious they were trying to keep it down.  I call that a win - the kids are pretty young and clearly not used to living in a decent neighborhood. 

I slept great, and woke up pretty tired.  Ron decided he didn't want to go to Walmart in the rain, so he cancelled the trip (OK if done more than an hour in advance).  We went back to bed. 

I slept as late as I could, about 10, and got up.  I was OK at first.  I did my God Time, didn't shower... some computer time.  Got pretty depressed, tried to nap, couldn't,  and decided I had better shower. 

Too many days off, depressed, sitting around with greasy hair.  My hair is very oily and I have to wash it daily.  I took the shower and even, sortof shaved my legs.  After that I had a little more energy and decided to organize the front room.  I cleared up a good 10 square feet. 

I have problems sorting into categories.  Once I figure that out I need to figure out where to put the category.  "Bible Handout Stuff" is all organized into crates in a tidy stack.  Well, most of it.  I have a LOT of Bibles.  The rest are located in another tidy stack. 

Oh, our firemen just came by on the trucks.  They do a little Christmas parade, with one of them dressed as Santa.  I went out and waved at them, they loved it. 

Hey, they may cut me out of a burning car one day.  The least I can do is wave at them. 

Ron ordered Chinese food for us, it was very good.  I didn't even finish it.  I took my pills with it and surprisingly didn't get groggy. 

All in all, not a bad day. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

I love my husband

Sometimes I worry I present an imperfect picture.  You often hear about the bad deeds, the "failures", etc.... but what about the good things? 

I don't know - actually I do - God got into him.  Ron is incredibly appreciative now.  He can't say enough nice things - and he means it.  That is huge to me. 

"I can't run this business without you... I'd be lost without you." 
"Wow, you are so strong!" 
"Thank you for helping me"

It goes a long way towards making up for past "sins".  It's what I always wanted. 

I do my best to return the favor, but I could probably do a better job.  I make a point to thank him for paying the bills, etc., because that's his love language.  But, like I said, I can work on that. 

I hope I can always be used in conjunction with the word "teachable". 

Ron is also great about sacrificing personal time to travel with me.  I'm "on the bus".  Many things, however, are not.  Church, for instance.  12 miles in a car, 22 minutes.  On paratransit, up to an hour each way.  On the bus, impossible.  Well, the bus will get me 2 miles closer to my destination... but 10 miles is a long walk on a busy road without a sidewalk!   Yet, every other week, he signs up for a 5 hour round trip to church. 

He doesn't make me beg, either.  I like that.  I really appreciate the trips to Walmart, etc.  Can you imagine trying to bring home heavy groceries on the bus?  I've done it - not fun. 

Really, without the rides on paratransit my life would be very difficult.  He's happy to take my to the doctor (that's an all day trip), blood tests, pharmacy.  Groceries.  Cat food.  I make a lot of trips. 

(I try not to take advantage, and we plan "Metro free days" on a regular basis). 

I "need' more than a normal woman, but it's not a big deal to him.  He likes providing for my needs. 

That's the nice thing about us - it's not one person taking care of the other.  Today, the sales tax form came in the mail.  I am terrified of it, scared to death I will lose it.  I dread important papers.  I *will* lose it.  Yet Ron is happy to go file it (he uses brailled envelopes).  I'll read it aloud and fill it out at his direction, he holds it until that moment. 

Let's recall last year, when I mailed the check without filling out the amount.  Ron was really nice about it.  Most "bosses" would have gone purple, especially since we could have faced a penalty fee. 

He's really understanding about my terrible housekeeping, as long as I don't touch "his" counter or sink.  He has clean clothes, clean litterboxes, happy cats, plenty of delicious food, so he's content.  Most men would berate me constantly. 

Ron understands: I have brain damage.  I really have trouble planning, sorting, and organizing.  He also understands I am highly medicated on top of that, which fries what little brain I've got left. 

In return for his understanding, I do whatever I can, and direct all manias into either housecleaning or yardwork. 

He's just happy I can work, and help him fix the machines.  "I'm part mechanic" I told someone recently, and Ron agreed.  He values that more than a spotless countertop. 

How can we forget living with me, through 14 years of flaming insanity?  I was no treat, let me tell you, especially right before diagnosis.  His problems and mine fed off each other in a perfect storm of screaming arguments.   It's a miracle I didn't kill him.  I sure thought about it. 

I'll never forget Ron, the night of my diagnosis.  I was told I am bipolar.  Insane.  My thoughts immediately went to my mother, who did absolutely everything wrong and had a terrible life, dying homeless in a motel by the freeway, in her underwear, a 2 liter bottle of vodka close at hand.   That, to me, was bipolar.  I had no positive role model: the responsibly medicated person with a good quality of life.  (I strive to be that person now)

No, I'm insane.  "Well," I thought "That's the end of my marriage.  Ron won't stick around for this."  I wouldn't.  The mental health professional could tell I was very discouraged, and he said "I need to talk to your husband?  What does he look like?"  I described him.  The man left. 

He came back in, much brighter.  "Well, I told him you have bipolar disorder."  I wondered how it had gone, and tried to ask, but he was more concerned with giving me some (bad) referrals and getting me discharged.  At least, I thought, they didn't want to put me in the hospital anymore. 

Thank God I was uninsured. 

I was discharged and headed out to Ron, sitting patiently in the waiting room.  "You heard, huh?"  Ron looked up at me (yes, even blind). 

"There you are!" he said with relief  "Let's get you out of here!" 

"You, ah, heard I'm bipolar?" 

Ron shrugged.   "Yeah, I heard.  He said they've got medication.  Let's go get some dinner!" 

That's why I love him.   


I am loved. 

That is really clear to me, today. 

I woke up with a migraine around 3 AM, fought it for a while (my faithful Torbie cat sleeping at my side in bed), gave up and took some fake exedrin at 5.  It abated a little, enough I could get out of bed without agony, go to the bathroom, and shower. 

I opted NOT to use anything scented on my face, and went with the unscented acne soap, instead.  I am hypersensitive to fragrance, and it hurts me, when I have a migraine.  Happily I also have unscented deodorant.   After my shower, I never use haircare products other than a ponytail holder. 

Ron and I talked for a little while, but decided: we had yesterday off.  Assured severe weather tomorrow.  We need sodas.  Had to work today. 

Ron didn't "make" me work, I chose to do it, because it is my business to and I want to be the best vendor.  He felt awful about it. 

First, though, we had to go to the bank and deposit the money for the property tax.  Goodbye, emergency fund.  The way things are going the dollar will be worthless pretty soon anyway. 

The way things are going I venture we'll be getting raptured right quick. 

Now, I don't always agree with my brother, but he made a good point about the whole Phil Robertson controversy.  Worth repeating:
In fact, he seems like exactly the type of person that one wou...ld expect to express the kind of views he has expressed. If anything, the lgbt community should be happy that freedom of speech is a universal value in the United States, and that so many people are voicing their support for the lgbt community. If they don't want this guy to be heard, I hope they don't expect to have the right to be heard either.

On that, we agree. 

Any sin will send you to hell.  Including sexual sins.  All sin is "bad".  All sin sends you to hell.  Jesus takes away your sin debt and gets you into heaven.  He also helps with impulses.  I'm done. 

I was a huge fornicator - Ron and I lived together, unmarried, for over 10 years.  Plenty of fornication (sex outside of marriage).  It cost me a lot.  I can see why God wanted me to protect myself by only having sex in a "sanctioned" marriage relationship (with a saved man).  Rebutting God cost me a lot of pain, not because He was out to punish me, but my choices led to painful consequences. 

However, God is able to use all things for good, including my choices.  I also remind myself I was insane at the time, which helps. 

So, onto my day.  I felt pretty awful at the bank, but I made it.  Frankly, I was a little relieved to get rid of the cash. 

I don't like valuable things.  I have to worry about protecting them.  I worry about losing them.  I worry about them being taken from me.  Better not to have them and focus on praying for the unreached or blogging. 

I'm not worried about "losing my safety net" because I know God is well able to take care of me.  If He can send someone to fix this: 
Then He can certainly keep my home "systems" (my biggest concern for the emergency fund) and my health going fine.  The only time I ever used it was when I found Bubba dying on the floor, I used some of it to pay for the cab to and from the animal hospital. 
So, release it to God. 
Now, the not so fun part - the wholesale club.  We needed soda.  Ron decided to get 2 instead of the 4 he'd originally planned (I was pretty poorly).  I got the drinks (bottled half liters) into the cart, got my pastry (I knew I needed that) and paid at the checkout. 
I almost vomited on the way to work, going along the Beltway.  No place to pull over! 
Note to self: next time I travel with a migraine, BRING A BUCKET. 
The driver didn't know, I think.  She just kept talking and she would have reacted if she'd known. 
I "let" Ron take the drinks out of the back as the driver looked at me in horror.  Ron was struggling, but so was I.  I tend to be overprotective anyway.  I hope he didn't pull anything. 
I got the cart, noting the other vendor is apparently still angry with us.  They threw my reindeer doorhanger on the floor and stomped on it (I can see the footprint), and then placed it on Ron's wheelchair. 
And they say I'm crazy?   What did the smiling felt reindeer toy do to you?  I brought it home. 
We got over to my vending machines and they looked good.  I tagged the pastry and stocked it, then stocked what little inventory I had (which was also the most popular).  I need another Hot Mix chips.  They can't get enough.  I also need more snickers, they are moving so fast I had to double-check the price.  Is the other vendor not selling them?   I didn't have time to look, but I wonder. 
Thank you, God, for the business.  While I was working and as we left, several people greeted me by name.  For a long time, they didn't know my name, but I guess my photo on one of the snack machines (posed with Ron), next to the sales message "Thank you for supporting Ron and Heather", did the trick.  They finally know us, separate from the other vendor (which was my goal). 
It is nice to have the affection of my "population".  That's what we in the blind vending business call our customers. 
Maybe they could also tell I still felt like crap.  I sure felt it. 
But, we got it all done.  We have tomorrow off and then will work on Sunday.  This is our busy season. 
One of the contractors told us we could sit on his tailgate, he parks near where the "bus shelter" used to be.  Someone cut the bolts and bulldozed the thing to a bare slab.  Not sure what that's about, but it's very inconvenient. 
Anyway, he has a distinctive vehicle so I sat on the tailgate until "about" our pickup time, then closed it and waited standing up.  By then, the worst of the migraine was gone.  Ron had a little trouble getting off the curb when our ride came.  I had to help him to the vehicle. 
I hope he didn't pull anything, lifting the soda.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dry mouth slayer

I may be depressed, but I still had a pretty good day today. 

I got up early and took my shower.  I looked at Torbie, lying so cute in the bed, and told her I'd be back.  My face has been kind of dry (for me, very unusual), so I used the Dove.  It's still a little dry. 

I'd hit the snooze button a few times so I had to wait on my God Time.  I got it later. 

First, Ron and I had a trip to Walmart.  While cleaning, I'd found 2 gift cards.  I thought maybe one of them might have some value, so I got them checked.  $20 I didn't know I had! 

That was pretty cool.  I haven't spent it yet, I'll wait until I find something awesome. 

Then, off to my shopping.  I hitched up my pants, again, and said "I'm getting a belt".  I went to the men's department and found a nice belt with grommets.  It was $10.  It works.  I'm happy. 

My body's at an in-between size, and my pants are sagging.  Well, they were. 

Ron needed a personal care item, so we got that (I had him in the "kiddie cart" with the seat on the back for an adult or 2 kids). 

My mouth has been really dry lately, so I wanted some rinse, or drops, or something.  I ended up buying the rinse (which works pretty well) and some drops, which are fantastic. 

I was a little leery of buying 100 count, but it had the magic words "dry mouth" "sugar free" "mandarin mint" "individually wrapped", etc.  It even had a kindly looking doctor on the back. 

When I popped one in, it reminded me of those soft mints.  The flavor is good and it really slew the dry mouth.  I was shocked.  Here's a link:  Mouth wetting lozenges  I misplaced them when I got home and was pretty upset until I found them. 

Then off to Bourbon Vienna Sausage for Ron.  I got some pasta, too, because he wants me to make him Chicken ala King (I just use the canned stuff). 

I got some milk and cereal, I'm pretty well set on food for now. 

It was pretty quiet, so we cruised around a little.  I teased Ron about cat treats (he just bought some), and we checked out. 

We had to wait a while on paratransit.  As Ron vented "They got me here half an hour early, and picking me up half an hour late!  I'm here for 2 hours!"  I try to balance validating his feelings and reminding him to count his blessings. 

I had to figure out what to do about the packages.  My sister had sent them in defiance of my request "don't contact me for 6 months".  Apparently, even a few days was too long. 

I wanted to send them back, but I didn't want to go to the PO.  I found out my carrier, God love her, will take them back for me.  I just need to leave them on the porch (I already arranged for carrier pickup). 

I love getting packages, but I detest manipulation, head games, and boundary crossing.  Off they go. 

I came this close (pinchy movement) to throwing them out completely.  Ugh.  I am just so sick of drama. 

The sad thing is that I really had meant it about the 6 months.  I don't like to make final choices until I'm driven to it - but she has been so disrespectful I'm cutting off all contact, for good. 

Ron wonders if she will attempt suicide.  If she does, that's on her.  People make choices.  If she makes a bad one she will pay the consequences.   I am praying for her to find God in a real way. 

Enough on that. 

I have been wishing, for a while, that I could just spend all day in bed with Torbie.  Sleeping, petting her, cuddles, and more sleep.  It sounded so lovely.  When we got home I actually made that happen.  I don't know how long I slept but I got up around 3. 

If I sleep too long, I get horrendous dry mouth (!) and nightmares.  I ran out of water (I keep a stainless quart water bottle by my bed), so I got up. 

I did my God Time, got online, arranged for my carrier pickup.  I even cleaned up the house a little.  Pretty impressive for a depression. 

Ron's having a bad day for neuropathy and nerve pain.  He is trying to keep that from affecting me, which I appreciate.  I hate to see him hurt.  I just hope he doesn't give himself more blisters with the back massager (if he leaves it on for too long, his skin blisters).   

Tomorrow looks to be busy, but it's our busy season.  I'm fine with that. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bible Handout update!

I never know who's getting a Bible.  God does, and it amazes me how He sends them. 

A good example, our ride to go to the handout location - almost an hour late.  BUT, as I walked out I met the garbage man.  I gave him a Bible.  The driver saw it, and wanted one.  I also gave one to the return trip driver. 

I got to the location and set up.  We worked about an hour. 

I had a lot of families in cars, everyone wanted a Bible.  Most were black, one hispanic, and one cajun (white french from Louisiana).  The last family grinned at me from the car as I handed everyone a Bible, and the father said they were the "Host" (?) family. 

I also had my favorite, gangbangers, covered in "tats", with gold teeth, eager to get their Free Bible!  I handed out several to them.  Always my favorites.  God's given me a huge heart for them. 

I had one white guy kind of gaping at me.  I went over and handed him one (he had the window down) and said "Now you've got your bonafide Free Bible from the crazy lady!"  He laughed pretty hard, and the light changed. 

It grieved me that I couldn't reach 2 different people, who wanted Bibles, before the light changed.  They never came back. 

I had a couple more who did, that was fun. 

One guy didn't want a Bible, but remarked he had seen me at the Beltway and Antoine last week.  I nodded and we chatted about the recipients' eagerness in the ghetto vs. the "better" part of town. 
I didn't have any trouble (Ron helps in his own low key way), but one guy driving a totalled-out white sedan let out a bloodcurdling scream as he drove by.  I had bent over to do something with my crate. 

I had some children point me out to Mom, wanting Bibles.  I made sure everyone got one.
I also had a few cars, 3 people but they only wanted 2.  I'd point at the third and tease them into taking a Bible.  One lady was pretty adamant she didn't want one, so I gave hers to to a friend and her to hold it for her.  I'm sure, at some point, she will want it, or it will move on to a more receptive home. 

I handed out what little Spanish I had.  I could do a whole handout just with spanish. 

I almost had a couple of pileups, someone stopping, all the cars behind them had to stop.  One time, when the "behind" car saw I was handing out Bibles, he started hollering too.  That was pretty awesome (and that was all "offa" seeing Ron's sign). 

Over the last 4 years, I have seen fewer and fewer people wanting Bibles.  I don't know if they are saturated, or God is just pulling in the last of the harvest. 

However, I did distribute 58 tonight, which is more than some people do in an entire lifetime. 

After the handout, I waited in the gas station parking lot.  I had a minivan with very tinted windows pull up next to me.  I could feel them glaring at me (I had put up the getup, sign, etc, extra Bibles in a crate on the ground).  I think he might have believed I was a competitor drug dealer.  I just played "ignoring you" and he went away. 

I mean, I'm a large white woman in a loud neon orange hoodie, with a blind man in a wheelchair.  Not exactly competition. 

I was happy to see our ride! 

Please pray for the recipients! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Minding my business

"Say no to crack!" my female driver shouted as I hitched up my jeans.  Yeah, that kind of day.  My jeans are pretty loose, but the smaller size is way too tight.  I need a belt. 

It started pretty early, we went into work and did an inventory.  The flaming hot cheetos are flaming hot.  I can barely keep them stocked.  I also reworked my planogram and decided to add some cookies, etc.  Ron is very supportive of my ideas, and nearly all of them have been popular. 

Years ago, one of my staples: the brownie bite cookie.  It was a nice small chocolately cookie with pecans.  They came in a 3 ounce bag.  I liked them a lot, but stopped eating them about 2005.  A few years ago, we stopped buying from the wholesale supply, so I stopped carrying them. 

We had a vending conference and one "hook" offered for hungry vendors was, you guessed it, the brownie bite cookie.  It has walnuts instead of pecans now, but when I ate it it was very insipid, hardly any nuts, and what I considered a horrible deal.  I was so glad I didn't sell them any more.  In my opinion, doing so would insult my customers. 

I've had the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies on the brain lately.  I see the customers eating them and they look pretty decent.  So, when we went to the wholesale club, I bought a box and stocked a coil.  Later on, at home, I tried a bag and they are delicious, stuffed with chocolate chips, two big handfuls, only 70 cents.  I'm happy to have that in my machine.  Ron's happy with the fantastic food cost. 

That, to me, is really important.  Am I proud of my selections?  I should be.  At the end of the work day the machines are full of good things to eat.  Good values, good flavors (although I'll take Ron's word for that on the hot selections, which are hugely popular), good machines. 

Walking past one of the other vendor's locations, I noticed they have raised prices on the 1.5 ounce chip.  It was 80 cents (you can still do that if you buy them at the wholesale club, and have a good food cost percentage), but I guess the guys who deliver aren't as affordable.  They went up to 85. 

That's why I prefer to bring in my inventory.  Lower prices.  No case limits. 

I think I am doing a very good job of "minding" my business.  Ron's very appreciative of all I do in the business, and at home. 

I'm really proud of us when I consider I'm brain damaged, severely mentally ill, properly medicated; Ron is blind, "stroked out" on his right side, neuropathy, brain damage, etc.  God helps to make it look easy. 

After work, I stood outside (they took the "bus stop" waiting area this past weekend, so Ron had to sit on the curb), harassed by - ladybugs. 

You got it.  The woman who's hallucinated bugs, crawling on her, for years, had to battle bugs, crawling on me, for about half an hour.  They got in my bra.  They got in my hair, arms, neck, face, you name it.  I saw Ron spit one out. 

The construction wiped out about 4 acres of natural wooded habitat.  I have to figure the bugs are having their revenge.  Ugh. 

I hope they're gone tomorrow. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

I don't feel like I did much today

I'd say, most days I don't "feel" mentally ill.  Yeah, I have depression.  Yeah, I'm tired.  Yeah, my mind is foggy after I take my medication (I take it after work), dry mouth, blah blah. 

Today, I just feel mentally sick.  Depression.  Really irritable (I haven't chewed Ron though).  Exhausted.  Bad dreams when I took my nap.  Even Torbie woke me up banging around under the bed (after what?). 

The Bible says to focus on good things. 
Philippians 4:8
[ Meditate on These Things ] Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

It is easy to say, "Yeah, but Paul never suffered from psychotic mental illness and horrid depressions."  Then I ask myself, how do I know that?  I know Paul suffered a lot of trials.  He was always getting whipped.  Pretty awful stuff. 

Would I want his life?  Let's look:

2 Corinthians 11:25-28

New King James Version (NKJV)
25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
Hm.  Not my idea of a good time.  It's important to note, Paul wrote the first passage after he had suffered all these trials. 
"Think about good things".  Don't snarl because the kids next door are kicking the ball into the house again.  Be glad they have parents who care about them getting exercise. 
Today was so awful it was funny, this morning at least.  Last night someone was playing music at a lower volume.  I found it bothersome but I knew I could sleep.  I did, OK I'd say. 
I got up and did my God time (if I'm gloomy now, imagine me without my God Time).  I didn't take a shower because it's my day off and I was depressed. 
Our ride was due about 9:30 and Ron was sleeping.  He lay in bed on his side, his faithful cat curled up behind his legs.   She's very much a nearby kitty, but tolerates a fair amount of petting.  She will growl at Ron when she's had enough, and leave. 
Don't forget, she's part wild cat.  Bengal. 
In fact, I have seen someone's pet Leopard Cat roaming the neighborhood.  I think that's one of her parents. 
So, they looked cute, I didn't want to bother him. 
Ron is smart enough to realize he'd get into trouble online.  Smart, smart, man.  I so admire him for that. 
His computer is not online.  It does have a "talker" program installed and is connected by USB to a basic printer. 
My computer, a very used laptop, is online, but is not connected to a printer.  It's in another room entirely. 
So, I had to put my "invitations to the church Christmas program" (approved by Pastor Mike) on a flash drive.  When I opened the file (I saved it as the proper document and all), it was gibberish. 
I had 15 minutes before our ride.  I worked on it for a bit but it was a ghastly mess of scrambled format. 
I was upset, "I can't do this".  Then I got the thought, from God, to write it out in longhand.  I don't cursive, I print, but it is very readable.  I did that. 
Then we went to the Dollar Tree, got a few things, and left Ron inside while I went to the copy shop.  I ran off 60 copies and had them cut in half (two invites per page).  Our ride was an hour late, picking us up.  Frustrating. 
I was a mess, so I ate some spaghetti rings out of a can, took my meds, and took a nap.  I didn't sleep well and had really disturbing nightmares.
I don't feel like I did much at all today. 
Once it settles down next door, I'll start stuffing invitations into the Bibles.  I hope someone checks it out. 

Better than my breakroom

Well, I'm finally being left alone.  Thank God. 

For me, the fact that my boundaries were repeatedly crossed after I asked to be left alone "for 6 months" indicates, so me, I'd better just cut off contact for good.  It's not for me to "save" her, assuming I wanted the job.  She has to get rid of the idols in her life and turn to God. 

Anything can be an idol - anything you put before God.  Bible Handouts could be one.  Ron, definitely.  Like I said, up to her now. 

On an amusing and exasperating note:  The postal workers are very excited about the remodel because the gossip mill has them putting in a full service cafeteria!  They won't hear anything to the contrary, and keep asking me about the menus, etc. 

This, in spite of the fact that NO postal processing facility in the nation has a hot food stand.  In spite of the fact that the construction manager (surrounded by a swarm of ubiquitous lackeys) told me, personally, "We are not doing any hot food" (she seemed very alarmed at the prospect) and "It's a vending area only." 

No, it's a magical place with unicorns, a pizza place, and an open bar all night long.  [/sarcasm]  They just won't hear a word to the contrary. 

Boy, are they in for a shock.  I imagine it will be very much like what we have now, vending machines, chairs, table, television. 

Better than my breakroom at Target. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Two battles

Well, tonight's the night I talk about a couple of things I had planned to keep private. 

Ron has been wonderful - good news. 

First issue, my sister is involved in a cult.  She is making bad decisions about other things and her life is just sliding downhill.  I told her, as a result, I needed a break because I don't agree with any of her decisions.  Negativity is a huge burden, takes me days to recover.  Please don't contact me for 6 months. 

In a week, she has tried to contact me 4 times.  That seems kind of stalkery to me, especially for a person who has gone weeks to years between contact. 

I am seriously contemplating cutting off ALL contact.  She cannot respect my boundaries - that's a relationship killer for me. 

It is frustrating.  My phone, a very simple one, has a single ringtone, so I have to take it out and look at it every time before I answer.


The other issue, as you know, when we lost our stockroom Ron made a begging phone call.  We were given a 12x20 foot temporary stockroom.  I said I "needed" one wall, assuming I would get more than the wall because... well, because I'm an idiot and didn't realize the extent of their selfishness. 

That's all I got, literally one wall, about 3 feet by 10.  I make it work.  Sadly, having the REST of the stockroom they STILL use our area!  I am always finding things moved, merchandise that's not mine, wheelchair (we fold it) roughly shoved aside, etc. 

OK, I will live with that.  We get the new stockroom in a couple of months, and I'll make damned sure Ron and I get our proper portion.  We can't even get soda deliveries.  Ron had to make another begging phone call to Dr Pepper on that one. 

The other vendor is saying things like "Make sure the construction director knows our stockroom door has to be 4 feet wide."  Dude, they weren't even going to give us a stockroom.  STFU before you screw it up. 

Of course I didn't say it. 

They weren't done.  Our stockroom is set inside another, bigger, room. 

The guy from the state decided to plug our combo unit (fridge/freezer) into an outlet in the outer room.  The other vendor started by leaving his very large flatbed carts (about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide) out in that area.  No one complained. 

Fast forward, he has merchandise, crap, etc all against two walls and people are starting to complain (the outer area is public and used as a shortcut by the office workers).  Not only that, they left sticky crap all over the floor.  It's turned black.  They also ran their carts through the sticky crap, leaving tracks. 

More complaints from the customers.  I had Ron mention it to the other vendor, who got a major attitude "Who complained?"  It doesn't matter - a customer did.  I spoke to her myself.  Not to mention it looks horrible.  Ron also mentioned she might want to clean it up before it got to our supervisor. 

They "mopped" a day or two later, leaving a filthy bucket full of black water sitting out in the public area.  I kept seeing it every day.  I waited.  They know customers are complaining it is dirty.  She can see, so can their primary employee. 

On the 4th day, I took photos and sent them, along with a letter detailing all of this, to our supervisor.  Today he got to it and the other vendor called, screaming, irate.  He went to voicemail because Ron had turned off his phone (I had a migraine today). 

The recorded message may prove useful in the future.  He made a lot of threats, ranting and raving, acting very "betrayed".  Why? 

1.  They didn't clean up.  That makes both of us look like filthy, nasty, people.  I wouldn't want that person handling my food. 

2.  They didn't clean up when we asked nicely. 

3.  They left the public area looking like that.  Why are they upset I took photos of the public area? 

4.  We only told the truth and showed the truth.  Why are they so angry about that? 

We have done ongoing business with them, because it was beneficial for us both.  They don't have to order as much, and we get stuff delivered to the location. 

In the phone call, the other vendor raved he would never do any business with us again.  It was over, all of it. 

That's going to hurt them a lot more than it will hurt us.  Now they are on the hook to spend probably $400 more a month than budgeted for bottled drinks, and find a place to put it. 

I venture to say the supervisor will "spank" them on using the public area anymore.  If nothing else, he will make sure they clean up, and make sure we have fair stockroom distribution when we get the permanent one. 

It just seems like common sense to me, if someone loans you something, you take care of it.  You don't leave it in filthy condition and leave screaming phone calls to people who point it out. 

They are the most entitled people I know.  And they're white! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Video blog

Day was way too long to type out. I also had horrible cramps all day too.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Catch us working

I used to wish I could get my illness under control so I could finally run the business the way it deserved.  The last couple months, we've been doing that.  We may have about half the machines we used to service, but they are well managed. 

So, what does my work day look like these days?  I get up 2 hours before the pickup time.  I might hit the snooze button a time or two. 

Torbie cat is probably sleeping with me, but she gets up when the alarm sounds.  I get up, brush my teeth and hair, and take my shower. 

Since I use the Pantene Ultimate 10 shampoo/conditioner combo, the haircare aspect isn't bad.  I get out, dry off, deodorant, brush my hair again.  I let it air dry while I do my God Time. 

I hang out on the couch with Torbie and God, read my Bible, pray, takes a while.  I give Torbie a few treats as we progress. 

I get up and get dressed.  Today was cold so I wore my long undies under my jeans.  I was sure glad I did. 

Then I eat breakfast, something to hold the Wellbutrin, take the morning pills (mainly Wellbutrin and a multivitamin), and wait for our ride.  If I have time, I watch the morning news. 

You never know - could be a maniac running around with a taste for middle-aged, brunette, ponytailed women.  Generally I roll my eyes, wondering when God is coming back. 

Our ride comes.  Today we rode around for a bit and went to the warehouse.  We already knew we needed to get soda, so we did that.  That took about an hour and a half total with the trip, and waiting on the next ride. 

We finally got to work.  I left Ron and got the cart.  I loaded the soda on the cart and Ron and I put some of the drinks in the freezer (thank God we still have the freezer).  We stocked, I did what I could with snacks. 

The deliveryman came so I escorted him to our area and waited while he fixed the soda machine.  We got the drinks out of the freezer and stocked them. Some of those drinks were already sold when we left. 

We went out, waited a little bit for our ride.  Got a snack of the catering truck, and went home.  I tried to get a nap but it didn't work for various reasons.  Mainly Ron stole my baby, out of my bed, while we were napping! 

Ron had the temerity to rattle a bag of cat treats.  Shameful.  He's learned his lesson, though. 

Then I filed the accounting report and wrote an email.  Had a little fun.  Then I have to do more work related stuff, eat something at some point, and finish up my God Time. 

Tomorrow should be really interesting.  We need a LOT of soda, too much for one trip.  So, we'll be making a trip to the warehouse, going to work and stocking.  Running an errand I want, then going back to the warehouse.  Going back to work and stocking that soda. 

On the plus side, two shifts will see us working in our area.  It's always good, I think, for them to "catch" us working. 

I do try to stay busy when depressed, so that does it. 

I did get a little manic for a while last night so I hope I'm cycling out of it.  I was also able to do some education with someone today and refer them to my doctor. 

If nothing else, I'm glad I got up for that. 

Walk away happy

I just had to deal with a work politics/customer service issue. 

I don't enjoy tattling, but if Ron confronts you on the issue, you basically tell me to stick it, and then leave things worse - then I will.  It's my job, my business, too. 

I had Ron's approval. 

I don't think a lot of business owners share my opinions about serving my customers.  Customers are my life.  Without them, I'm dead and so's my business.  So, I should do whatever I can to encourage them to come, to make the visit a pleasant experience, and do my damndest to make sure they're walking away happy. 

If I'm not, I don't deserve their business.  I certainly don't deserve your money. 

But, a lot of the time, I see very apathetic small business owners, taking their customers for granted and acting like they're "entitled" to sales.  No, you're not.  Every coin someone drops in your box is a gift.  You have to earn it. 

So, someone comes into work.  They see clean, well maintained vending machines.  They see me and Ron, neatly dressed, groomed, and working hard.  If it's the holidays you will probably see me in a Santa hat.  If it is the holidays, you'll see a mini tree on top of every vending machine, and other decor besides. 

I have done whatever I can to make sure your initial experience is pleasant and encouraging. 

You walk up to the machine.  You see a good selection of various food items.  What would you like to eat today? 

You select your item and the vending machine works properly, because I service it as directed.  You won't find things hanging up in my machine! 

Maybe you walk over to the soda machine.  It's clean, bright, and ready to go.  The drinks are always cold.  We have a good selection.  Nothing is sold out. 

Treats in hand, you can walk over to your break area and watch that gossip show on TV, during your break.  Because I cared. 

That's what gets me - if you have a business you should care.  You shouldn't just phone it in, you should care!  Think about how much it would suck if you lost the business.  Think how hard you'd be searching for another job, how motivated, how eager - THEN turn that around and put that into your business. 

If nothing else, do that. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The better life

Envy is a sin. 

Proverbs 14:30
A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.
Proverbs 23:17
Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
I still let it affect me, though.  One stumble for me is looking at a "normal" woman, presumably has it together, able to have kids and raise them well, able to drive, able to work pretty much any job she wants, no mood disorder, no hallucinations, no brain damage.  I imagine her perfect life, her perfect house, and just want to whine "Why me?" 
Today I had an insight into that life.  I was at the post office.  A woman was standing in line in front of me, very harried.  She was trying to fill out postal paperwork for a clearly "important" letter, while on the phone with her car dealership about "service".  She needed a loaner, they didn't have any available.  "Well, then, I need to rent a car" she said with exasperation. 
Other than one U-haul, I've never needed to do that.  I've never had to have my vehicle serviced.  I fill vending machines, I don't have important, urgent tasks.  Not like hers.  I had a loving husband waiting for me back at Taco Bell (and only a man who loves me deeply will wait that long).  I didn't see a ring on her hand, but she was so harried I might not have, anyway. 
It got me thinking, maybe I have the "better" life after all. 

I want to be a good vendor.

I've been busy and depressed.  Not a good duo.  I have battled this depression for about a month and I'm ready for it to end. 

Ron made a joke about stun gun do it myself therapy, and I was actually tempted for a minute.  {I don't own a stun gun}

So, today, properly medicated, this will be more in the random thoughts. 

We went to work yesterday.  Work, warehouse, back to work and stocking.  We had no power in our stockroom so I had to have the blind man find things for me.  Pretty funny. 

The weather has been chilly, upper 30's to low 40's, drizzly.  Ron kept us home Friday and Saturday due to even worse weather (high winds).   Imagine waiting for an hour, outside, in the rain and cold with a horrendous wind.  Yeah.  It sucks.  I was delighted to accept the days off. 

We, of course, had to go in after that.  Sure enough, a machine was down.  The electricians apparently work on the weekend and cut off power to the food machine for longer than 4 hours, which triggered the health code warning.  Happily, we do not have perishables in the food machine, just cold drinks and such. 

Drinks have been very popular, snacks moderate.  I can't keep up with demand for the hot chips.  They adore them.  I expect a different population and product lineup when they put us back in the midst of the cubicle farm.  I expect more veggie chips, plain chips, baked chips, pretzels, low fat candy type of things.  The line workers aren't watching their figure, they work very hard and want maximum taste. 

I was very happy to get home, a little alarmed when the neighbor (5 kids) came over.  He wants to do a cleanup day in the yard and haul off some brush, etc.  I said sure. 

I have been sleeping OK but a lot of wierd dreams and nightmares.  My pastor says some of what we call depression is actually spritual warfare.  That's probably the case - both. 

Torbie has been awesome about sleeping with me.  I like to kiss her, on her side, give her a little pet, when I wake up in the middle of the night.  She may be an "old" lady but she has a beautiful spirit. 

I did hand out 3 Bibles today.  That made me happy.  I also did some nice things for other people which also makes me happy (the Bible says don't brag on your good deeds). 

I got more depression food today at Walmart, spaghetti rings in sauce with no meat (the meat makes me sick), a gallon of milk, Ron suggested a can of beef stew.  I did that.  I also got some TV dinners.  Easy to fix food that will not make me sick from my medication.  Yay. 

When I talked to Mom, she was pretty horrified I eat the hotdogs "with the nitrates?!"  We won't tell her about this week's menu. 

I still had plenty of cereal left from my last shopping trip.  I can take my meds with a bowl of rasin bran.  Generic rasin bran comes in a 20 ounce box, only 9 cents an ounce.  The best price in the cereal aisle.  I also like it. 

I also bought myself the luxury of a couple of 6 packs of bottled soda (500 ml).  One Diet Mountain Dew, one Diet Dr Pepper.  Normally I don't for budget reasons but I want to pamper myself a little. 

We were out of disposable spoons, so I got the sporks down off the cabinet (my kitchen cabinets do not go to the ceiling).  We're set for a while now.  It's about 3/4 full.  We ordered them by accident years ago (unwrapped) and then opened them.  Once it's open you can't return them, so we bought them from the business and took them home.  

After we got home I put up the groceries and then taped up the packages.  Mom and Dad each have their own box.  I found some really cute peppermint themed strapping tape. 

Ron, my hero, saved me from 3 hours bus riding in the rain and cold.  He waited at Taco Bell while I walked over to the post office.  It wasn't bad.  I gossiped a little about work, mailed my stuff, and left.  They should get it Wednesday. 

I assume they will put it under the tree, it's pretty festive with the tape.  Then they can open it Christmas Day. 

I apparently have "inbound" packages.  I will find a place for them, I think on top of my stand alone front room cabinet. 

Tomorrow, back to work.  This is our month - sales will crash next month.  We will make our money this month.  So, off to the warehouse again (we sure earn our membership), buy drinks, go to work, chill them, stock what I can, stock the drinks when they're cold. 

Apparently the other vendor is stocking hot drinks which is giving us a bad reputation, until I take one out and show it to them.  "Feel that".  "OOO!"  (digging for money). 

I want to be a good vendor. 

2 days in one, again

Yesterday was pretty uneventful.  We went to the warehouse, got our supplies, went to work and stocked.  Jack will be out of town next wee...